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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 48 (2006) 10, 777 - 786

Review article

Short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy

J.J.L. Derksen

background The past twenty years have seen many developments in 'psychodynamic' psychotherapy.
aim To provide an overview of recent developments in short-term psychodynamic psychotherapy. This involves summarizing current approaches and describing in detail the model developed by Malan and Davanloo. A summary is also given of empirical research into the effect of the various treatment modalities.
method Modern manuals were consulted, which describe many of the recent developments and contain contributions by the leading representatives of the various therapeutic orientations. In addition, a literature survey was carried out; by means of Webspirs it was possible to search Psycinfo, Medline and Current Contents for studies relating to empirical research in the effect of psychodynamic psychotherapy.
results There are several variants of the psychodynamic treatment modality. In each of them the treatment duration is reduced, mainly because the focus is on certain particular elements. In addition, a maximum number of sessions is specified. The frequency can be varied and the psychotherapist is much more actively involved than in classical psychoanalytic psychotherapy. Techniques from other therapeutic orientations are integrated, but the focus on defence and affect expressions is preserved. Especially shorter treatment has stimulated empirical research and gradually it is becoming possible to compare short-term treatment with other forms of treatment.
conclusion Short term psychodynamic psychotherapy fits in with modern requirements with regard to efficiency, brevity and (empirical) transparency. This form of treatment deserves its own place in modern psychotherapy because it focuses directly on the patient's actual feelings and emotions. Research into the effectiveness of dynamic therapy has already begun, but more work needs to be done in this area.

keywords brief, experiential therapy, psychodynamic psychotherapy, trial therapy